IBM And Oracle Resolve Litigation Over 'Executive Poaching' Case


IBM and Oracle have apparently resolved a lawsuit over Oracle’s hiring of a long-time IBM employee that Big Blue said was covered by a non-compete contract.

Both sides have agreed to dismiss the case, according to papers filed this week in a New York state court, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. That indicates that an out-of-court settlement has been reached.

IBM sued Joanne Olsen, general manager for Business Continuity and Resiliency Services at the company, in June after she quit to take a job at Oracle. IBM argued that Olsen, a 31-year IBM veteran, was in violation of a non-compete agreement that required her to wait a year before taking a job with a competitor, according to a Reuters story.

Oracle filed a counter-suit against IBM in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, according to Reuters.

Resolution of the suit would mean that Olsen is free to take the Oracle job where as senior vice president for on-demand services she will manage the business unit that sells cloud-based versions of Oracle’s applications. An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment on the case.

IBM and Oracle compete head-to-head with a number of software products such as middleware and databases. But the competition is becoming even fiercer following Oracle’s $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems and its hardware servers and storage products that compete with IBM.

IBM has aggressively sought to enforce non-compete agreements when employees try to take jobs with competitors. In November IBM sought to prevent Mark Papermaster from taking a post with Apple. And in May 2009 IBM sued to stop mergers and acquisitions executive David Johnson from taking a job at Dell.